This article was originally published in The Business News on Dec. 6, 2021.

Industry 4.0 is upon us, and we are seeing a transition in how we produce products and materials thanks to data, machine learning, automation, and robotics. Companies need to leverage and invest in new equipment to stay ahead of the competition, meet the needs of the current workforce, and run the business more efficiently. With a new year approaching, now is the perfect time to integrate new technologies.

It is no secret that employers across the country are struggling to find qualified workers. Thankfully, robotics technology can help companies meet the needs of current demands despite not having enough qualified people to fill all the job roles needed. Currently, there are many different types of robots being used within the industry to supplement staff, especially for jobs that are considered dangerous or monotonous. For example, many manufacturers are finding ways to get rid of conveyor belts altogether and replacing them with robots that can move faster and more precisely than their human counterparts. This helps companies become more efficient in their production processes, allowing them to create products at a lower cost than if they used traditional equipment, all while keeping employees safe.

The popularity of wearable robotic technology is also on the rise. These mechanical, electronic, or software-enabled devices help to improve physical capabilities or enhance safety for the wearer. An exoskeleton suit is an example of wearable robotics; it helps support a person’s body, allowing them to conserve energy and avoid straining their muscles. This can help boost that employee’s strength and endurance allowing them to work faster. Research also shows that employees who wear exoskeleton technology are less likely to be injured on the job, ultimately resulting in lower medical costs and further issues, such as reduced physical capabilities, for employees.

It’s about more than robotics too though. If you’re thinking about making improvements to your business, you might think that it’s hard to integrate new technology into your current equipment. There are many different technologies available that can help make operations more efficient. Electromechanical technology gives manufacturers the flexibility to upgrade older machines instead of replacing them entirely and helps integrate automation processes to improve the quality, safety, and repeatability of business operations.

As the year comes to a close, companies of all sizes need to evaluate how they are doing and what can be done to improve. Whether you have been in business for 50 years or just one, there is always a new technology that will help your company grow. It’s not enough to just keep up with the times if you want to stay ahead of your competition.